A letter from the researchers, describing their study, was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study included 40 women who had experienced painful menstrual cramps at least four times in the previous six months. The pain was found to be unrelated to any other health condition, and was therefore called “primary dysmenorrhea.” The women were given either 300,000 IU of vitamin D, in the form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), or placebo five days before the expected beginning of their next period. The treatment was then repeated for the next menstrual cycle.
These key results were reported:
It is important to note that the details of the study were reported in a letter and have not yet been reviewed by other researchers. Nevertheless, the promising findings from this study suggest that low vitamin D levels might contribute to menstrual pain and that taking vitamin D might relieve it.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the effect of a single high dose of vitamin D in primary dysmenorrhea,” the researchers said. “Our data supports the use of cholecalciferol in these patients,” they continued, adding that it may be especially helpful to women with low vitamin D levels.
Taking vitamin D is just one thing women can do to reduce menstrual pain without using anti-inflammatory medications. Here are some others:
(Arch Intern Med 2012;172:366–7)